The Rhodes Scholarships were established after the death of Cecil Rhodes, who believed that bringing students from other places to study at Oxford University would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace. Each year, thirty-two US citizens are among more than eighty Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford University. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.
Rhodes Scholarships are given for a one, two, or three-year period of study at Oxford University. The scholarship pays all tuition and fees, and provides the scholar with a personal allowance. Thirty-two scholarships are given each year to US citizens, distributed according to a system of geographical districts.
- Candidates must be US citizens, or a lawful permanent resident of the US prior to and including at least 5 years of the application deadline.
- Candidates must be between 18 and 23 on October 1 of the year in which they apply.
- Candidates must complete a bachelor's degree before beginning study as a Rhodes Scholar.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen with the following criteria in mind:
- The candidate should demonstrate wide-ranging academic excellence. This excellence should be reflected in his or her overall academic record and in other ways.
- The candidate should show qualities of moral leadership and social purpose and should exhibit outstanding and attractive potential outside the classroom as well as within it.
- The candidate should have the physical vigor that enables Rhodes Scholars to make an effective contribution to the world around them. Rhodes desired that his Scholars be intellectually, morally and physically capable of leadership in any field.
Applications are submitted online and include:
- A 1000-word personal statement, regarding intellectual interests and aspirations, and a proposed course of study at Oxford. See website for specific statement and certification requirements.
- List of principle activities
- 5-8 letters of recommendation (Four letters must be academic)
- Institutional endorsement
- Certified transcripts
- Passport-size photograph
- Proof of citizenship or lawful permanent resident status
The Rhodes Trust selects scholars through a regional competition. The applicant must be eligible to apply through one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia: either in the state where he or she was legally resident on April 15 in the year of application, or where he or she will have received at least two years of college training and a bachelor's degree before October 1 in the year following election. (U.S. citizens who are residents of U.S. territories are only eligible to apply if they will have at least two years of college training and a bachelor's degree from a college or university in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.)
- University of Idaho Deadline: August (contact Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator for exact date)
- Foundation Deadline: October (see foundation website for exact date)
The online application typically opens early July. Applications require an institutional endorsement; materials are due to the Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator by the U of I internal deadline. All application materials are due to Rhodes online by the foundation deadline. Finalists will be invited to interviews, held the Friday and Saturday preceding Thanksgiving. Rhodes Scholars are informed of their status at the end of the final interview.